Hugh Gourley

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Hugh Gourley

Hugh Gourley, 1898.gif
Hugh Gourley in 1898
17th Mayor of Dunedin
In office
In office
Member of the New Zealand Legislative Council
In office
22 June 1899 – 21 June 1906
Personal details
Born16 November 1825
Ballynahinch, County Down, Ireland
Died16 December 1906 (aged 81)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Spouse(s)Ellen Gourley (née Johnson) (m. 1850, d. 1874)
Childrenfour daughters and four sons
ProfessionUndertaker, politician

Hugh Gourley (1825 – 16 December 1906) was a New Zealand politician born in Ireland. He was Mayor of Dunedin on two occasions and then appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council for one seven-year term.

Early life[edit]

Gourley was born in Ballynahinch, County Down, Ireland in 1825.[1] He married Ellen (née Johnson), a daughter of J. Johnston of County Down in 1850. They had four daughters and four sons.[2] He emigrated to Victoria, Australia, aged 27, where he worked in the gold fields and then in his trade as a saddler.[1][2]

Professional life[edit]

Gourley came to Otago in the early 1860s, initially working in the gold fields before setting up in Dunedin as a saddler.[3] He subsequently engaged in various businesses, including the trades of livery, the operation of coaches to Port Chalmers and as an undertaker.[3]

Political career[edit]

Gourley was first elected to the St Kilda Borough Council in 1881, subsequently serving as the borough's mayor for 13 years.[3] He was first elected to the Dunedin City Council in 1885 and became Mayor of Dunedin the first time in 1888 for one year and again in 1896 for another year.[3] Gourley was chairman of the Harbour Board for some time, represented on the Domain Board, and as a member of a range of charitable institutions.[3]

Gourley contested the Dunedin electorate in the 1893 election being one of eight candidates who contested three available positions. William Hutchison and David Pinkerton were incumbents who were successful. William Earnshaw was the third successful candidate (he had represented the Peninsula electorate in the previous Parliament). The previous representative, Henry Fish, came fourth, Hugh Gourley was fifth, with other unsuccessful candidates being James Gore, C. Haynes and D. Nicol.[4]

Gourley was appointed to the New Zealand Legislative Council on 22 June 1899. He ceased to be a member on 21 June 1906 at the end of his seven-year term.[5]

Other interests and death[edit]

He was active in racing and trotting circles and held many official positions, including that of the Dunedin delegate to the New Zealand Trotting Association.[6]

Ellen Gourley died on 7 August 1874, aged 46.[7][8] She was buried at Dunedin Southern Cemetery three days later.[9] Gourley died on 16 December 1906 in Dunedin.[10] He was buried at Dunedin Southern Cemetery two days later in the same plot as his wife.[11] One of his sons had died in the Second Boer War.[6]

Gourley's undertaking business was incorporated into Gillions Funeral Services, which is still in operation.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Hon. Hugh Gourley". Wairarapa Daily Times. LVI (8635). 18 December 1906. p. 5. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b Cyclopedia Company Limited (1905). "The Hon. Hugh Gourley". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Otago & Southland Provincial Districts. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Griffiths, George (September 2005). "Dunedin's 19th Century Mayors" (PDF). Friends of the Hocken Collections. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  4. ^ "The General Election, 1893". Wellington: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1894 Session I, H-19. 1894. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  5. ^ Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 77.
  6. ^ a b "The late Mr Hugh Gourley". Otago Witness (2753). 19 December 1906. p. 54. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Deaths". Otago Daily Times (3893). 8 August 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Funeral Notice". Otago Daily Times (3894). 10 August 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Death of a prominent Dunedin Citizen". Colonist. XLVIX (11812). 17 December 1906. p. 4. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Half a Century of Funeral Services". Gillions Funeral Services. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
William Dawson
Mayor of Dunedin
Succeeded by
John Roberts
Preceded by
Nathaniel Young Armstrong Wales
Succeeded by
Edward Cargill